Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chavi's Golden Cookies

This cookie is part two of Operation Empty Pantry. I had a can of Lyle's Golden Syrup (delicious eaten right off the spoon!) and no recipe to go along with it. I did some research on their website and various other places, but couldn't manage to find any recipes that matched the rest of my available ingredients. Not so promising until I decided to take matters into my own hands. I have a trusted molasses based cookie that is made with oil so using that as a base I decided to revamp the recipe. The result is completely new and is proudly now my own. I was a bit nervous that the cookies would fail after the first bake- they were unattractive and melted in places, although the flavor was fantastic- somewhere between caramel and vanilla with a hint of salt. Yum! I mentally reviewed my cookie knowledge and decided that a rest period in the fridge would firm up the dough and make them bake perfectly. And right I was. I was in heaven with these and couldn't stop munching. Pulling them from the oven while they are only slighly golden enables a chewy, moist inside and saves from overcaramelization AKA burning.

Chavi's Golden Cookies

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp salt
dash cinnamon
splash vanilla
1 2/3 cups flourPlace all of the ingredients except for the flour in a bowl,and whisk to combine.
Add the flour and whisk to combine. Place the batter in the fridge for about a half hour to firm up. Preheat the oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into balls. Place on the sheets. Bake until the cookies have flattened and are lightly golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.
This was the first batch- unattractive but delicious. This is the result of the chilled dough- winners all the way!

Wedding Cookies

I did it! As I write this, I am sitting on my bed at SFW, thankfully equipped with wireless and air conditioning- a serious upgrade. What this means is that I have finally and successfully moved and moved in and unpacked. Everything. Except the books.. still looking for a place for that. Girls arrive soon and work starts sooner and I'm excited and nervous. This is going to be a year full of hard work and lots of travel; it'll be tough to balance school and work but I am so looking forward! That said, these cookies (and one's in the upcoming post) were made a couple days before the move in an effort to empty the pantry of all perishables in an effort to minimize waste. Having a couple of opened bags of almond flour and some margarine, I immediately thought of Wedding Cookies, the tender, delicate and crumbly, easy to put together nut cookie that is rolled in powdered sugar. Don't skimp on the salt- it's important here. Next time I might add almond extract to enhance the nut flavor. I think that's all there is to say about these. Oh. They were simply delish.

Wedding Cookies
from the KAF Cookie Companion

1 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
3/4 almond flour (I used a mixture of almond flour and ground almonds for some texture)
2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Place the margarine, sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl,and cream until combined.Add the ground almonds,and beat until combined.Add the flour and beat until combined.The dough should be crumbly but hold together when squeezed. If it has not reached that consistency, drizzle in a bit of canola oil until the texture is reached. Place the dough in the fridge and chill for one hour. Preheat the oven to 325. Line baking sheets with parchment. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into balls. Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they appear set and are just beginning to brown.
Here they are. I didnt bother coating them in powdered sugar. They were perfect without.. but feel free!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat

I can't entirely recall what the circumstances were regarding this bread. So all I have to tell you is that aside from the way they look (because my slashing on this was dismal) these loaves were delicious. Coming from Hamelman's trusty Bread book, this bread made use of my sourdough starter and resulted in a crusty, light and mildly tangy bread with a delicious crumb. I can't copy over the recipe now as it's moving day and everything is packed. But once I'm settled I'll be back with more posts and details about what's going on here. For now, enjoy the series of pictures that depicts the bread making process!!

Update- July 2010-Recipe Added

Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat
from Bread

4.8 ounces flour
6 ounces water
1 ounce mature liquid levain

1 lb 8 ounces flour
3.2 ounces whole wheat flour
14.8 ounces water
1 tbsp salt
all of levain minus 2 tbsps

The night before, place the levain ingredients in a measuring cup or bowl. Stir to make a cohesive mixture. Allow to rise overnight.Here is the risen starter.Place the levain in a bowl.To this add the remaining ingredients except the salt.Stir to make a shaggy dough. Allow to autolyse for twenty minutes to an hour. Add the salt and knead to make a cohesive dough.Allow to ferment for two and a half hours, folding once after an hour.Here is the risen dough.Scale the dough into two equal portions.
Round and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Allow to proof for about two and a half hours. Towards the end of fermentation, preheat the oven to 460 with a stone inside.Here are the proofed loaves.
Slash the loaves- better than this I hope. Bake with steam for about 40-45 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack. My ugly ducklings were really lovely inside..
and tasted yum-o!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Maggie Glezer's Essential's Columbia

It’s become tradition here in the dorms to host a break fast after the twenty five hour long fast of the ninth of Av. This fast is the culmination of the three weeks, the day we commemorate the destruction of the Temples and mourn all of the things that have happened in Jewish history. So a few weeks ago, that's just what we did. Dinner is usually something light and dairy, following the bread course. That of course, is my domain and the bread is usually highly anticipated by all my friends. For last year's break fast I made Maggie Glezer's Rosemary Bread Slabs, so for this years break fast I opted to turn to the same source and settled on Essential's Columbia, a bread that would make use of my sourdough starter. These loaves turned out so well that they disappeared in record time. No time for crumb shots. It was mildy but nicely acidic with a delicious crust. There's not much to say except for that we loved it. Isnt that all that matters anyway?

Essential's Columbia
from Artisan Baking Across America

30 grams fermented firm sourdough starter
95 grams water
150 grams bread flour

300 grams bread flour
300 grams all purpose flour
55 grams whole wheat flour
20 grams barley malt
450 grams water
16 grams salt

The night before baking, combine the levain ingredients. Knead until a stiff dough is formed. Allow to ferment 8-12 hours. Here is the fermented levain. The next day, combine all the flours in a bowl, and whisk to combine. Add the water and the malt to the flour mixture.

Mix with a wooden spoon just until combined. Allow to autolyse for 20-30 minutes. Add the levain and salt. Knead the dough until it is very smooth, about ten minutes. Place the dough in a bowl and allow to ferment for one hour. Turn the dough once and then let it ferment for 3-5 hours more until light and airy.This is what my dough looked like. The heat helped it rise nicely. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.Divide the dough into two (roughly) equal portions.Round the loaves and allow them to rest for for 10-15 minutes.Shape the rounds into batards, or something that resembles batards. Allow to proof for 3 1/2-4 1/2 hours. Forty five minutes before the time is up, preheat the oven with a baking stone and prepare for steam. Slash the loaves and bake for 35-40 minutes until a thermometer registers at least 190 degrees. Remove to a rack to cool.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shabbat Dessert Roundup Part 3: Sunshine Orange Semifreddo

To me, it’s a no-brainer that Shabbat afternoon dessert for a day that is blisteringly hot should be cold and creamy. I’ve ragged on and on about the Israeli heat and in this small way I feel I can battle it that much easier. That’s right, cold desserts. And air conditioning, of course. This was the finale to a very cute and cleverly themed Burgers Bar (the ubiquitous burger joint here in Israel) meal, hosted by friends of mine, R and I. I’ve renamed this dessert, which comes from Flo Braker’s Desserts for All Occasions, Creamsicle Cake, both because it tastes just like creamsicle and because explaining semifreddo is just too complicated. I loved this dessert- it was light and creamy and perfectly orange flavored over a crunchy cookie crumb base. You can choose to add the orange flavored liqueur or opt to leave it out, as I did. The filling starts with reduced orange juice and is then cooked with eggs and some sugar. Once the desired temperature to kill all the bacteria is reached the eggs are then beaten until thickened and whipped cream is folded in. It is then poured over the baked crust and frozen until solid. Care must be taken to eat it either in an air conditioned room or fast, as it will melt otherwise. The only thing I would do differently is to bake the cookie crust a bit less, or use a softer cookie to begin with, so the crust is not as crunchy. It was a tad difficult to cut all the way through and chew although I did enjoy the contrast of crunchy and creamy. This dessert is a definite keeper and got rave reviews. I’m particularly proud of this one and I hope to actually repeat it. Which would be a first.

Sunshine Orange Semifreddo or Creamsicle Cake
adapted from Flo Braker's Baking for all Occasions

150 grams zwieback toasts, graham crackers or tea biscuits
2 tbsp powdered sugar
2 ounces chocolate chips or bar chocolate
3 ounces butter or margarine, melted and cooled

2 cups strained fresh orange juice
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9inch springform pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Place the crackers, chocolate, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.Grind into a find powder.Add the margarine or butter and pulse briefly to distribute.Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.Pat the crumbs into the pan to form an even crust and bake for ten minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Cover and place in the freezer. To make the filling, place the orange juice in saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the juice is reduced to one cup. Set aside to cool completely.Meanwhile, place the cream in a large metal bowl,and whip until soft peaks form. Cover and set aside while you continue with the filling.Add the sugar, corn syrup and egg yolks to the cooled orange juice.Whisk until thoroughly blended. Place over low heat and whisk constantly until the mixture registers 170 on a thermometer.
Pour the orange-egg mixture into a bowl. Place ice cubes underneath the bowl to cool it down. Using a handheld mixer, beat the mixture until it is cold, light and fluffy. The time will depend on your mixer. It could take as long as twenty minutes.

When the mixture is thoroughly beaten, add the cream.Gently fold to combine.

Pour the batter into the pan and smooth evenly over the crust. Freeze overnight.